Updated Fri, Feb 13, 2009 by Shayalyn
This week's TenTonHammer.com network-wide feature covers the question of "who let the dogs out?" More specifically, the question to be addressed by each site in detail is "if you could change one thing about this game, what would it be?" Or alternatively for games not yet released, "what do you not want to see?" Details and reasonings provided too, of course. If you agree, help spread the idea - get results from community action!
Instancing. Can it be overdone? I say yes, and I'll explain why. It is the new hot thing that many new MMOGs are picking up on and touting as a feature that will make their game great and remove problems associated with old-styled games. By putting people into their own versions of the world, they can experience a story and affect the world in ways that wouldn't be possible otherwise, while not being disturbed by the influences of those outside of their immediate party. But, many, along with myself, feel that some games have taken it too far despite the advantages that it provides. The beloved feel of a coherent world was destroyed, and the persistence of an environment no longer exists. The separation of too many people into their own little worlds causes the community to potentially feel isolated and segmented.
In a type of world where instancing covers the entire world, it becomes hard to meet new people and interact with others. People only end up with those that happen to be in the same instance they've hopped into, and if friends wish to meet again, it must be arranged to go to the same instance together. Chance occurrences of happening against those you already know are greatly reduced. Once you set off to do a quest or a mission, you can't come across other players under most circumstances. Is this part so bad? Not really, and most would agree. But to have all the towns, hang out places, and meeting spots be instanced - it does create divisions in the community. Everyone has their own adventures, going on their own exploits, completing the same quests. How is this different from a multiplayer but non-MMO RPG if instancing is utilized so completely? Has the MMO aspect simply been reduced into a glorified match-making system for people to start their own private games? Has the connections between people and also their actions in the world been severed? Each group, party, clique, or guild heads into its own world...
So, I plead, don't overdo the instancing! Instancing is great in moderation, I say. It's really great for having the flexibility to do things and not worry about ruining another's experience. But I would much love it if there were still parts of the world that remain persistent and connected, where the actions of one can influence another on a greater community scale in-game, within the world. Especially the towns. Ever seen town based advertisement spamming from would-be traders hopping from instance to instance in other games? Or tried to do it yourself? Total immersion destruction - please, no more. I just want both elements to co-exist in one game. A good balance is key to the enjoyment of variety!
What would you like to avoid seeing in Dungeons and Dragons Online? Do you feel the same way about instancing, or disagree and hope that instances takes a full hold of the MMO genre? Share your opinions on the forum, here.
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